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Poll: Three Quarters of Medicare Recipients Don't Know Deadline for Health Plan Changes

Results Indicate Potential Challenges Ahead for Open Enrollment

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new HealthPocket Medicare survey finds that 78 percent of Medicare beneficiaries do not know when the last day for open enrollment season ends, and many mistakenly think they have until the end of the year to make changes to their plans. When asked, "When does Medicare's annual enrollment period (when you can change your prescription drug or Medicare Advantage coverage) end?" 33 percent said December 31; 26 percent said December 1; 19 percent said December 15; and only 22 percent answered correctly that it is December 7.

Medicare's annual enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7. These dates have been in effect since the fall of 2011. During this time, Medicare enrollees can change their coverage, including moving from one Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan to another. However, this year's Medicare annual enrollment also overlaps with the highly publicized open enrollment for the Obamacare insurance marketplaces, which begins on October 1 and ends on March 31.

"With so much public attention on, seniors may be getting lost in the shuffle," said Steve Zaleznick, executive director for Consumer Strategy and Development of HealthPocket. "Our poll, issued a month before the close of open enrollment, reveals a great deal of confusion about how much time people have to make these important insurance decisions. It should serve as a call to action for everyone doing outreach to Medicare enrollees."

In other research, HealthPocket analyzed the state of the 2014 Medicare market including Medicare Advantage premiums, out-of-pocket maximum levels and quality scores. The most consistent takeaway for consumers from this research is that plans change from one year to the next and purchasers should use the annual enrollment period to assess their needs and the plans that are most likely to meet them.

This InfoPoll survey was conducted between October 30 and November 5, 2013 and reflects 731 responses. The methodology to acquire survey respondents who are currently enrolled in Medicare was implemented by Google. See the InfoPoll to review the detailed findings.

HealthPocket helps consumers in the plan review process by providing a free Medicare comparison tool so they can input their specific information and compare options based on quality and price. For more information, visit

About HealthPocket is a free website that compares and ranks all health plans available to an individual, family, or small business, so everyone can make their best health plan decision and save on their out of pocket costs. The Company uses only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. The founders of spent decades pioneering online access to health insurance information and knew they could offer something different that can positively change how people buy and use healthcare in the U.S. Learn more at

SOURCE  HealthPocket


Posted: November 2013